You hear this question every time you visit your dentist for your regular cleaning: “Do you floss every day?”
Some of us can confidently answer “Yes!”, but for many people, flossing is an overlooked step in our daily dental hygiene regimen. In fact, it’s estimated that only 4 in 10 Americans floss every day, and about 20 percent of Americans never floss at all. There is also data that suggests that nearly 30 percent of Americans actually lie about how often they floss! What is it about flossing that turns perfectly reasonable people into “flossing fibbers”?
For some people, it’s not about being too lazy to floss. Many people find flossing to be an uncomfortable and unpleasant task. The idea of sliding a piece of nylon between and around every tooth, the saliva factor (even if it’s our own!), and the inevitable “food particle home run hit” on our mirror falls into the “gross-out” category.
Why, then, do dentists and hygienists keep at us to floss each and every day? Isn’t brushing enough?
Brushing, on its own, can certainly remove some food and debris from the surface of our teeth, but a toothbrush can’t reach into the tight areas between and around teeth which can harbor plaque and harmful bacteria. We’ve all heard this scary dental scenario: Once plaque and bacteria take hold below the gum line, the result is tartar. If tartar builds up, it can cause bleeding, redness, and inflammation of the gums, which can eventually develop into periodontal disease and possible tooth loss. Flossing is an important way to attack those hidden areas of concern which can lead to serious dental health issues.
If flossing is a such a critical part of good dental health, then is there anything we can do to try to make it a more pleasant experience?
For many people, using a waxed and flavored floss is the answer! The wax helps the floss to glide more easily between teeth, and the flavor is more pleasing to the senses than plain floss. Mint is a standard favorite. For the more dentally “adventurous”, dental floss is also available in such “off the wall” flavors as “Pumpkin Spice”, “Banana” and for the truly daring, “Bacon” flavored floss is an option, too. There is even “Cupcake Frosting” flavored dent
Talk to your Local Dentist to discuss other options that can help you discover comfortable and effective flossing and brushing techniques.